Zain Stephen Smith, also known by his stage name Zain Stephen or Zain, is a Caribbean-American singer, songwriter, musician, and record producer based in Atlanta, GA. Born in Long Island, New York, to Jamaican parents, Zain, often describing himself as a “citizenofdaworld”, spent his childhood growing up in Belize and Antigua before settling in Atlanta.
At four or five years old, Zain would often be heard playing random notes and singing gibberish on an old upright piano in his house. A few months later, his mother signed him up for music lessons. It was then his passion for music started as he would go on to play in recitals and concerts for music schools in Belize and Antigua. Having a strong upbringing in the church, he became a prominent church pianist in Antigua.
After moving to Atlanta to pursue his educational goals, Zain continued to be an active musician on the church scene as well as playing in the North Atlanta High School bands. Though a talented vocalist, Zain was shy to share his vocal talent and would not be heard singing in public other than a few times at church. In 2021 at the age of sixteen, Zain began writing songs as a form of therapy to cope with feelings of anxiety and being overwhelmed with moving to a new country again and not being able to “find himself”. It was in February of 2022, inspired by recent events, that Zain would share his original music and vocal talent for the first time, singing an acoustic version of his unfinished song “The Perfect Man” and posting it on social media. In an emotion-filled gospel/soul piece, he sang about the oppressed experience of being a black man in America and received some attention after his friends shared the post and the video reached several thousand views.
Fast forward a few months and Zain is set to release a studio version of The Perfect Man song in January of 2024. Known for his vintage, soulful voice and instrumental style, he has cited Jon Batiste, Jonathan McReynolds, Samm Henshaw, and PJ Morton as his biggest musical influences. Zain also has a passion for the melodica and can be seen covering many popular songs in videos on his social media. He has stated that he sees himself in the melodica: “I think the melodica really summarizes me. It’s a frequently slept-on instrument with a fun and vintage personality that is seemingly simple, but is intricate and can easily light up a room.”